North Hall Community Center
Where: 4175 Nopone Road, Gainesville
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Hall County held the official grand opening Saturday for the new North Hall Community Center.
Parts of the center have been open since early October, but some of the furniture and equipment hadn’t been delivered, so the official opening was delayed until everything was completed.
“I think the turnout’s great. People are excited, they’re motivated, the energy’s in the air,” said Elsa Alvarez, facility coordinator for the North Hall Community Center at 4175 Nopone Road, Gainesville.
That energy was quickly put on display. Joe Gradidge, a 14-year old Gainesville resident and avid user of the gym and fitness center before Saturday, came to see and try out the technology center.
“I just got done playing basketball; it’s pretty fun. Maybe, sometimes after school, I could just come here, do my homework,” he said.
Farrah Machida brought her two sons, Sam and Greg, to the grand opening. The center exceeded her expectations, and caught her by surprise at the same time.
“It’s nice to come in here; it’s a lot nicer than I thought it was going be. I knew they were advertising it as a technology center, so I wasn’t expecting like the gym and a fitness facility and things like that. So it was a pleasant surprise,” she said.
She’s also looking into organized sports for her sons. “Both the boys love sports, so it’s something to look for in the future,” she said.
Tours of the technology center, workshop rooms, gyms and fitness center were a part of the experience on Saturday.
The technology center, part of the Hall County Library System, includes 58 public computers, a checkout area for an iPad, Kindle, Nook and laptops. Wi-Fi is also available for free throughout the center.
“I’d like to thank the library board; we got a great facility,” said Adrian Mixon, Hall County library director.
Alvarez praised the library system for the technology center.
“I think the Hall County Library System did a great job in opening (that) center next to us. It’s awesome with all the electronics, computers and the Xbox is great,” she said.
Mike Little, director of Hall County Parks and Leisure, is excited for the future and potential growth for the center.
“I see events growing here; I see programs growing,” Little said. “We’ve had (some) softball tournaments, and we’ve already started basketball practices. The fitness area is being used extensively.”
Another point of emphasis made Saturday was economic boost.
“Even though (so) many people don’t believe what this can do for economic development, I can promise you, as new clients and new people look to relocate their businesses here, this will be one of the facilities shown to them,” Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Oliver said.
District 1 Commissioner Craig Lutz echoed Oliver’s words, saying “It’s rare when government has an opportunity to get out in front of something. It seems like often times we’re reacting to growth. Having a facility up here like this that has an opportunity to bring in growth is something else.”